Reading, Hexagon, 23 May 1990

24 May 1990
Simon Jones

scan from the paper

Martyn remains one of the best


THE SAYING goes that old hippies fade away. But John Martyn is the exception to the rule - as he proved at the Hexagon last night. After more than 20 years on the circuit he just gets better, turning in a tight and brilliant set.

Although he concentrated on newer material, Martyn still managed a trip across the years - from his most famous songs like Never Lay Your Head Down to the title track of his new jazz-influenced album The Apprentice.

A master at the vast tour, Martyn has been among the few top musicians who insist on touring regularly. The Hexagon proved a good setting for a virtuoso band. Martyn was in rare and innovative form, although he always leaves the impression he would be more at home in a smoke-filled bar.

Certainly the audience at the Hexagon were left in no doubt why the this Scotsman is seen as a master craftsman. This was a gig for the aficionada - the true lover of modern music. Martyn showed how he had pioneered the breakdown of musical barriers - blending jazz, folk and blues.

It was not a gig for jumping up and down. It was for sitting and listening to one of the best. He will be back. In fact he will probably be doing the same thing, just as well, 20 years from now.

Simon Jones

Picture of review kindly provided by Jim McKnight.
The publishing medium is unknown but there was a Simon Jones who wrote for The Independent.